Fixing up your home is one of the most worthwhile uses of the equity in your home. Not only that, but it also adds comfort and beauty to your home as well – making it even more enjoyable to live there. Several ways exist for you to be able to get access to that money that is in your equity. Here are some ways that you can get that money and some things to watch out for along the way.
A home equity loan is one that becomes a second mortgage. As such, it has closing costs and other fees that apply to a regular mortgage. This means, too that there is an approval process and appraisal costs. It is like a regular loan in that you get all the money in the loan in one lump sum and then start making payments.
These loans are usually adjustable rate mortgages. This means you have no set interest rate and it will change from month to month – or from year to year. You can also get a home equity loan with a fixed rate if you look around, which will give you a much more stable payment, but will usually be higher than an adjustable rate mortgage.
One great feature of a home equity loan is knowing how much money you have to work with – you get it all at once. This does require you to know in advance how much equity you want, or you could simply take out as much as you can get. You will want to leave at least 20% of your home’s value in equity and not borrow against it. This is so that you do not have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance. It will also leave you a margin of money in case you ever should have to move. If you leave no equity at all in your house, it may become next to impossible to sell it – and you will be left with no money for a new downpayment.
You also need to know that, as a second mortgage, a home equity loan gives you a new payment to make each month. For this reason your lender will base the amount of the loan on both your ability to pay and your credit rating, along with your total indebtedness.
The amount of time that you have to pay a home equity loan is less than it would be with a first mortgage. Often for as much as 15 years, these loans can be adjusted to the time frame you want – even up to 30 years if you want to keep your payments low. However, you should also remember that the longer you pay – the more you will pay in interest.
When you go to get your home equity loan, be sure that you shop around and get the best deal you can. Besides looking at the interest rate, you will also want to notice the fees, closing costs, and other fees that will apply. Lenders can vary greatly in their terms and fees, so you should look them over carefully to find the deal that best matches your needs.